Smackdown Books 2017

Arlene's smackdown17 book montage

The Memory of Things
Hour of the Bees
The Gospel Truth
Ultraman, Vol. 1
The Bunker Diary
Trouble Is a Friend of Mine
Footer Davis Probably Is Crazy
The Hired Girl
An Ember in the Ashes
The Porcupine of Truth
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir
Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans
Goodbye Stranger
Beautiful Blue World
The Blackthorn Key
All American Boys

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The Family Romanov vs. Only Ever yours- Westminster's Views

So we approached The Family Romanov with some trepidation.  None of us are real non fiction aficionados and almost none of us had much interest in the Romanovs—that is until we read the book. I believed rumours about the evil genius Rasputin and have succumbed many a time to the idea of Anastasia surfacing in Paris a beauty with amnesia.  But this is better than fiction.  The characters could not be invented, the tragedy more Shakspearian, the setting more dramatic and Ms. Fleming tells it simply and without embellishment.  The only thing that did not work for us was the contrast-- the peasants' point of view was conveniently  in grey squares and so unremittingly ugly that we all soon just skipped them.  The point had been made.   Pictures helped with the visualizing and did the same job.   We loved the book.  The rumours are now dispelled or reinforced.

On the other hand, we were looking forward to Only Ever Yours as a possible sell during our Dystopian literature unit.  The premise was interesting but the book, sadly, really wasn't.  I got bogged down in hating everyone and growing tired of the constant referrals to appearance.  Yes, that was the point, I know, but I wished I'd been more intrigued by the mystery of what happened to isabel or made to care about the fate of any of these girls.  In the end, I still found so few redeeming qualities in the characters and the explanation of the dystopia unsatisfying.  It was all just so bleak, I couldn't enjoy it.  Still, I'll test run it on a few kids to see if they like it better than I do, but for now, I am happy to let Only Ever Yours die in Smackdown.  

That's Westmin's four votes for Romanov's!  

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